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Four Pieces of Your Furnace, and How They Work

gas furnace burners

As we enter that time of year in Cincinnati when our furnaces become crucial parts of our day-to-day existence, let’s step back and look at its construction. What makes up your furnace? Here are four main components to the inside of it.

1. The Thermostat

You communicate with your HVAC system via the thermostat. Here is where you set a temperature, and your system makes your home that temperature. When you change the temperature setting, a switch flips. This lets a control board know that it should turn on an ignition switch — or turn it off. The furnace’s heating cycle begins or ends, depending on the notification the system receives from the thermostat.

2. The Burners

Your furnace has tubes. Gas is sent to these tubes, and then the gas is burned. These tubes are the burners. When the thermostat activates the furnace, a gas valve opens. An igniter lights the gas mixture. There is also a flame sensor there as a safety measure — if a flame is not lit, the sensor will turn off the incoming gas.

3. The Fan

Most furnaces mix outside air with natural gas to create combustion. The draft/hood fan pushes heat from the burners into the heat exchanger. There, exhaust gases like carbon monoxide are sent outside the house.

4. The Heat Exchanger

That set of metal tubes mentioned earlier form the mechanism that heats the air. The coils in the furnace are heat exchangers, and as the air goes over the coils, the burning fuel heats that air. Since the process creates carbon monoxide, it is important that you have a functioning carbon monoxide (CO) detector. Your furnace should be sending all of the CO outside the house, but you need the detector in place to confirm that for you.

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